The visible effects of climate change and the following media coverage have made it difficult to avoid the issue of climate change in 2021 – for individuals and businesses. Indeed, sustainability has become a more mainstream issue than ever before. It is inevitable that in 2022 more businesses will come forward to play their part in sustainability. So, what’s on the agenda?
Sustainable strategy: From ambition to action
To date, most organizations have set ambitions and goals. Many companies (including Spotify) have pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These long-term goals are undoubtedly important and necessary, but if we can meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, now is the time to act.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Risk Report, climate action failure continues to be considered the most serious risk for the next 10 years and is also identified among the top three risks in short (0-2 years), medium (2). -5 years) and long-term (5-10 years) context. The organizations (and countries) that have set the net-zero goal need to figure out how to reach it and create credible ways to start taking those steps. In 2022, we expect to see these commitments realized through activity and actual emissions reduction, as companies use their innovation and impact to do so in new, improved ways.
To move forward, companies need to step up their consolidation efforts. Setting a long-term goal can be done at a high level but to make things happen, promises of sustainability need to be broken and consolidated across the business. Things like internal carbon pricing and transparent emissions reporting will help
Employees engaged in sustainable work
It should come as no surprise when we see a higher level of scrutiny from the general public, experts and employees. While companies are being held accountable for their sustainability and climate commitment, there is no excuse or way to break that promise. People – customers, employees, government, investors, etc. – expect companies to meet their goals. The only way to get the word out is for businesses to make their stated ambitions come true and make the promised contribution to solving this global problem.
Historically, liability has been driven by external stakeholders, primarily investors and regulators, but in recent years, it has become more driven by employees. Whether one subscribes to the concept of “great resignation” or not, we know that the talent market in 2022 is more competitive than ever. And creating a sense of kinship and connection between an organization’s activities and personal values is the biggest driver of retention. Demonstrating purpose through sustainable activities is a very powerful way to showcase your culture and cement the trust of your employees that they have joined a company that respects its responsibilities and will live up to its promises. Therefore, an organization’s sustainability strategy and subsequent steps are quickly becoming a major decision-making factor when choosing to join a company or even stay with an employer.
Integrate sustainable work with data informed approaches
In order to start delivering to the specified goal, all parts of the business need to be aligned, which calls for high-quality data. Updating a spreadsheet once a year may not be specific enough to enable your emissions reduction efforts.
Therefore, in 2022, sustainable parties will need more sophisticated software to visualize their carbon emissions, to identify which parts of the business or processes are generating the most emissions, to focus on reducing those efforts.
Having a visualization and a way to present data in an understandable and digestible way will enable sharing across your organization, which is the key to driving engagement. In organizations like Spotify, where band members are actively and collaboratively encouraged to find innovations that will help businesses and the world around them, this data sharing can be a catalyst for employees to express the necessary creativity.
Another reason for the growing importance of changing legal landscape data. The requirement for mandatory reporting and disclosure of sustainability is being implemented in many countries around the world. Having high-quality data readily available will enable compliance and ensure that you do not focus too much on reporting, time and effort which can instead be spent on creating positive impact and change.
Making information and science accessible to a wider audience is far more important than ever. That said, knowing the facts doesn’t mean people will change their behavior, so we need to be more creative about how to trigger these much-needed actions. A platform like Spotify could play a major role here, and we bet that it would be more effective to appeal to people’s feelings through storytelling and fiction.
We’ve already seen examples of this across other media platforms – the Netflix movie Don’t Look Up being one of last year’s highlights. In 2022, the climate crisis will be a bright spotlight in mainstream culture, and the personal stories of people affected by climate change will draw more attention. Check out this space as things like ‘Cli-fi’ (fiction covering climate change) develop further.
Poor and marginalized populations are often the most affected by the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels. This is despite the fact that they bear little responsibility for climate change in the first place. The vision of climate justice is not new and was widely discussed during COP 26 last year. In 2022 we can expect that the climate crisis dialogue will primarily expand its focus on reducing emissions, including human rights and social inequality. It is up to us, the agencies with the power and reach, to provide a platform and broaden the voices that are often unheard of and ignored.
2022 – Get Involved!
Towards the end of the first month of 2022 we are all feeling the urgency of construction. We know that sustainable action is a good overdue. Conversation is good around different areas of sustainability, and it’s essential to find ways to tell stories and engage all different audiences, but we must not forget that we all have a role to play in creating action.
Businesses need to make sure they are able to move toward their own goals, directly across the organization, and they must take steps to activate their customer base.
2022 will be an important year in terms of sustainability, with many changes taking place, focusing on important dates such as the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity (April 25-May 8), Stockholm +50 (2nd-3rd June), COP 27 (November 8-20). And the sixth assessment report of the IPCCC (September).
Get these dates in your diary, get ready to take action, and make a difference in your organization and in the world – this is the way forward for your business and the world at large.